In March 2020, a new seed was planted for many people around the world. It was the seed of awareness and the need we all have for nature. Many began to rediscover the outdoors by way of outdoor dining and activities to feel the freedom of fresh air. As the world began to slowly open back up, nature travel grew in popularity. For many, the initial safety needed to spend more time outside rekindled an appreciation for nature. And now, plenty of people are making the conscious decision to trade vacations in crowded tourist destinations for rural escapes to off-the-grid locales, seeking the kind of quiet solace that only time spent among natural surroundings can bring.
Our minds, bodies, and souls are hardwired to connect with nature. Research shows that exposure to nature can boost physical well-being, lowering blood pressure and reducing muscle tension. And other studies have shown that even just feeling connected to the natural world is deeply grounding, helping to combat stress, improve mood, and boost creativity. Couple that with an infusion of nature grown meals… and the body, mind, and spirit enter a state of rest.
I could have never imagined the gift of solitude, while being surrounded by the green wonder of the Lagodekhi National Park when we committed 100% of our time in nature. Truly, it has changed our lives.
The benefits of staying in a stunning natural environment also extends to the sensory experience. Consider how you might associate the scent of fresh-cut grass, salty ocean air, or wildflowers with carefree memories of childhood—and how smelling these aromas again could transport you to that happy mindset. To similar effect, the melodies of nature (think: a babbling creek, birds singing, crackle of fire) can soothe your nervous system, shifting you out of a fight-or-flight state and into a rest-and-digest one. Not to mention the added mental-health benefit of immersing yourself in all these sensory inputs while disconnecting from technology, given that nature doesn’t subscribe to having a great cell service – but rather depends on what we call, the Wild Wood Web.
As we prepare to open for our sixth season, we wanted to share a bit about winter before we say goodbye.
We, too, had a romantic view of what it would be like to experience Duende during the winter. Thoughts of a fire burning in the chill air while bathing in a hot tub together under the confetti of snow falling down upon us. Sounds steamy, right?
From the beginning, it was not our intention to become hoteliers. Furthermore, it was definitely not in our thoughts to do so in the Republic of Georgia. After relocating to Georgia, our initial vision was to create a place in Lagodekhi where our family could connect with nature and share quality time together without the noise of our ¨city lives¨. We did not create a business plan, nor do market research, We simply began to build from our hearts for those that we loved.
Intent has always been the heart of the Duende creation and experience. From camping on the land for a year before imagining what this project may become to working hand in hand with the local village, we choose everyday to embody love + commUNITY for what we do and in how we serve all.
Leaving our families and cultures behind to embrace the Georgian way has often been a confusing and challenging road. Like nature, our relationship with this land has gone through many cycles, judgements, limiting beliefs, and healing.
As the sun rises, you become a guest of the birds morning chant. While as the sun sets, you become an observer of the jackals and wolves evening calls. You may be relaxing in your luxury boutique treehouse or bathing in your private hot tub – nonetheless, these are the moments you know you are in the wild of the Lagodekhi National Park to disconnect and “glamp” your way in nature.